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Price Of Admission

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 16-01-2011

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Ramesh Pannuru’s op-ed in the NY Times is quite odd:  if anything it’s a tacit admission that Republicans aren’t going to every try to govern because they can’t.  The party of “personal responsibility” shouldn’t even try to mess with Social Security or Medicare, because they’ll only pay for it in 2012.  Why not just do nothing and blame Obama instead?  This isnt hyperbole, folks…this is his actual admonition to Republicans in the column.

Reforming these programs is vital to our nation’s long-term fiscal health — which is why Republicans should resist this advice and leave the issue alone. Reform is impossible this year or next unless President Obama takes the lead on it. What’s more, Republicans have no mandate for reform, and a failed attempt will only set back the cause

Wait a minute.  I thought the story of the entire 2010 election was “the Tea Party has a mandate for change and reform now!”  That’s certainly what candidate after candidate promised on the campaign trail.  Gosh, you mean it was all a cynical ploy to gain power just to lock up the machinery of government and blame the Democrats in order to win in 2012?

Steve M. calls him out cold.

In other words: Yeah, we said over and over and over again in the last two years that we’re going to be the bestest fiscal stewards in this country ever, the hawkiest of deficit hawks; we’re going to take on the tough challenges, and we hate big government … but, er, um, if we actually do try to alter entitlement programs in a way that follows logically from our own incessant rhetoric, well, voters will be mean to us! And for us, that will really, really suck!

Unless, as Ponnuru says, President Obama sticks his neck out first — and if he doesn’t, well, then inaction is all his fault. Republicans are completely, totally blameless!

Wow.  Ponnuru is basically copping to the entire GOP Plan:  do nothing, watch the country burn, blame Obama.  He continues:

They should begin by freezing or cutting government payrolls, including in the legislative branch — something Republicans have already started doing. Message: the federal government is not just imposing sacrifices but sharing them. Then they should get control of the discretionary, or non-entitlement, portions of the budget, which are small only in comparison with entitlements. Only after winning those fights, and probably electing a new president, should the old-age entitlements be up for reform

And after completely admitting the Secret GOP Plan for 2011, he completely gives the plan away for 2012 and 2013 too:  dupe the American public into voting in a Republican President so they can completely gut Social Security and Medicare.  Vote Republican, we’re going to screw everybody under 55!

Dude’s freely admitting this in the NY Times editorial section.

Hey Democrats, are you paying attention here?  You might want to point out this column on Sunday, just saying.


Zandar Versus The Stupid

Gaming College Admission in Texas

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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One of the most novel ideas of college admissions in recent decades has been the “10 percent plan” in Texas. And research released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that some students figured out how to game the system to get into a flagship — and that the net result of this activity was to help white students at the expense of minority students.

From Inside Higher Ed. How did the students do it?

The study…found significant shifts in patterns among students who stood to benefit from being in less competitive high schools. These patterns run counter to the usual tendency of families to try to get their children into the best high schools possible…identifying those students with “motive and opportunity” — those who were likely to fall below the 10 percent in competitive high schools but were strong enough students that they would be in the top 10 percent in weaker high schools in which they could enroll — the scholars estimate that 25 percent or more of students moved to new high schools for “strategic” reasons…Generally, the movement was from magnet schools to less competitive local schools, where the grade-point average to be in the top 10 percent was lower and/or the students moving could earn better grades.

The research, by Julie Berry Cullen, Mark C. Long, and Randall Reback, is here.

The Monkey Cage

New York Times Buries Admission of Self Interest in Chevron Story

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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The New York Times reported on Jan. 2 that Chevron has been using outtakes from the film "Crude," an anti-Chevron film in its legal battles. The Times called it "a cautionary tale for lawyers who invite in documentary filmmakers to tell the story of their legal fights."

The footage was allowed in court after a New York federal judge ruled in May 2010 that Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker, had to turn over more than 500 hours of outtakes, according to the Times.

While this Times story was not as biased against Chevron as past articles about the $ 27 billion Ecuadorian lawsuit have been, but the paper was not upfront about its opposition to the use of the film footage.

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Hamas Admission And Judge Richard Goldstone’s Silence Prove Goldstone Report Was Wrong

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-12-2010

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On the first day of the war, Israel targeted police stations and 250 martyrs who were part of Hamas and the various factions fell.” He added that, “about 200 to 300 were killed from the Qassam Brigades, as well as 150 security personnel.”
Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, Jerusalem Post, November 1, 2010

Pity no one seems to really be talking about the Goldstone Report anymore-seeing as even now facts surface that contradict it.

At the time when Hamas admitted that Israel was correct and a larger percentage of combatants were killed by Israel than what the Goldstone claimed, CAMERA noted, the Hamas admission directly undercuts the Goldstone Report’s contention that Israel targeted civilians as well:

Hamad’s admission gives greater credence to the assertion of British Colonel Richard Kemp that the Israelis acted with greater restraint than other military forces engaged in similar circumstances. The Israeli forces encountered an environment in which opposing forces were intermingled with civilian populations; distinguishing combatants from non-combatants was difficult. This difficulty was compounded by the intentional blending of civilians and combatants by Hamas. During the war, the New York Times reported that the Hamas leadership issued instructions for its fighters to shed their uniforms in order to blend in to the civilian population.

Alan Dershowitz also pointed out that Israel’s version of the number of Hamas terrorists killed in Operation Cast Lead was vindicated:

The Israel Defense Force put the total number of known combatants killed at 709 and the number of known civilian deaths at 295, with 162 (mostly men of fighting age) “unknown.” Such a ratio, if true, would be far better than that achieved by any other nation in a comparable conflict. Not surprisingly, Israel’s enemies initially disputed this ratio and claimed that the number of combatants killed was far lower and the number of civilians far higher. The United Nations, the Goldstone Report, various “human rights” organizations and many in the media automatically rejected Israel’s documented figures, preferring the distorted numbers offered by Hamas’ and other Palestinian sources.

But a statement recently made by a Hamas leader confirms that Israel was correct in claiming that approximately 700 combatants were killed.

CAMERA has suggested that the reason behind the Hamas admission is because of the appearance that Hamas chickened out and abandoned it’s people. Dershowitz likewise notes that Hamas has been under pressure from rival terrorist groups that it did not do enough to protect Gaza.

In any case, what did Hamas have to lose by finally coming clean: at this point who is going to go back and correct the record-certainly not Judge Goldstone or the UN.

But the fact remains that the fact that Goldstone’s conclusions have been proven wrong is no small matter.

Dershowitz writes:

Because it uncritically accepted the original Hamas claims of very few combatant deaths, the Goldstone Report was able to reach its flawed conclusion that the purpose of the operation must have been to kill civilians, not combatants.

Now that the truth has been admitted by the Hamas leadership — that as many as 700 combatants were, in fact, killed — the Goldstone Commission is obliged to reconsider its false conclusion and correct its deeply flawed report.

Richard Goldstone himself has repeatedly said that he hoped that new evidence will prove his conclusions wrong. Well, this new evidence — a classic admission against interest — does just that!

Back in November, the founder of Human Rights Watch-Robert Bernstein-spoke at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, also pointed out that the Hamas admission that Israel was right about Operation Cast Lead requires a reevaluation of the Goldstone Report:

It is this issue of civilian deaths which is perhaps the most focused-on discussion of all human rights discussions concerning Palestine and Israel. Human Rights Watch believes that they can sort out where civilian deaths should not have occurred and then by severely attacking those who committed those deaths can shame them into being more careful next time. The argument over the 1,200 to 1,300 deaths in Gaza has been intense. Let me make perfectly clear that nobody, certainly those who have spent our lives in human rights, want any civilian death (or for that matter, soldier’s death) to occur. Certainly not avoidable ones. However, if by chance, Human Rights Watch is wrong in their analyses of the deaths in the Gaza war and blaming Israel for deaths that are really the collateral damage of war, think of the damage that’s been done to Israel. On Thursday, November 4, a report came out that Fathi Hamad, the Hamas administration’s Interior Minister, revealed that as many as 700 Hamas military-security operatives were killed during Operation Cast Lead. The number, consistent with Israel’s examination, is significantly higher than the numbers given by Hamas and used by the Goldstone Report. It would indicate that about 60 percent of those killed in the war were actively engaged and not civilians – despite Hamas’s tactic of embedding itself in the civilian population of Gaza. If this report holds up, it will be interesting to see if the Goldstone Report and Human Rights Watch reports are reevaluated by them – all of which took the Palestinians’ figures as fact.

After having been lectured by the many backers that Judge Richard Goldstone is an honorable and respectable man, we would expect that in the light of information directly contradicting his Goldstone Report, Judge Goldstone himself would come forward. We would expect that he would say something about how this affects the validity of his report and whether he would reevaluate its conclusions-and why.

No one is surprised by the silence of the UN in general-or of the UN Human Rights Council in particular. That is to be expected.

But Goldstone’s silence in the face of new contradictory evidence is unfortunately consistent with his failure to follow through on his promise to confront the many errors pointed out in the Goldstone Report.

Here is a man who accused Israel of war crimes and of purposely targeting civilians.
How can he be silent in the face of new evidence that Israel was falsely accused?

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Daled Amos

Rare Admission From Liberal: Education Woes Not Due to Lack of Funding

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-12-2010

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Only time I recall a left-winger saying this, but hey, it's a start.

Here's Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, author of "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," talking about the economy and education on Ed Schultz's radio show yesterday with guest host Jeff Santos of WWZN 1510 AM in Boston -

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NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Yawn: Rep. King introduces anti-WikiLeaks bill; tacit admission we cannot presently prosecute

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 09-12-2010

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Let the chorus begin: Ex post facto, freedom of the press.

Even the article is odd:

Incoming House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) introduced a bill Thursday aimed at stopping WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants. The bill is a companion to the Senate version unveiled last week.

King has previously called on Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. He said the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act would give the Justice Department the authority to do exactly that.

Did I read that correctly?  King is saying that Boy Holder should prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act, and that the new legislation, dubbed the “SHIELD Act,” will allow that prosecution.

Let the chorus begin: Ex post facto, freedom of the press.

King’s statement suggests that we have nothing on the books to make illegal what Assange has done or caused to be done.  Go figure.  Then what’s all the fuss about if what Julian has done is completely legal if not uncomfortable?

I also find the proposed bill to be poorly written and so off-point that it seems to be a fishing expedition dwarfing the PATRIOT Act.  But since that Act was allegedly a Bush creation (although Clinton had asked Congress without success for virtually every authorization) and Assange has made Hillary and Obama look poorly, the Liberal Chorus is singing to cue.

Try this … “Communication Intelligence”:  All procedures and methods used in the interception of communications and the obtaining of information from such communications by other than the intended recipients. OK.  Is a “method” sending a diplomatic cable to a faraway land asking for our embassy staff to get a stool sample of local politicians? Certainly the “intended recipient” of said fecal material was not the American ambassador.  Whenever the word “All” begins such a sentence, it is immediately suspect as being overly broad.  Is Congress trying to shut out all public view of such procedures and methods?  What if the feds are opening every 50th letter dropped off at the local post office?  I guess we can’t disclose it.  Does this overly broad writing shut off all review via FOIA requests?

It doesn’t get any better.  ”Human Intelligence” is defined as all procedures and methods employed in the collection of intelligence through human sources. These can’t be disclosed.  Isn’t observing public people in public places “collecting intelligence”?

But get this … “Transnational threat”: Any transnational activity (including international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the delivery systems for such weapons, and organized crime) that threatens the national security of the United States. In the first instance, we can drop the parenthetical examples.  Any activity that threatens the national security of the US?  Whoa.  Can someone get the license plate number off that tractor trailer that just got driven through that gaping hole?  But look at the paratheticals:  Um, excuse me, Congresspeople, where’s the tie to WikiLeaks?  Have you all been holding this legislation in a drawer just waiting for an excuse to spring it?

And I’ll write it again …

Let the chorus begin: Ex post facto, freedom of the press.

Now, let’s presume that Assange is smart, shifty, planning, resigned to a fate, etc.  He bundles or has bundled every document in his possession.  One massive file.  The House dutifully follows the Senate’s lead in passing this garbage legislation.  As it is being delivered to Obama for signature, the cyberkey to the master file is released.

Did he release the information?  Not directly.  But he did cause it to be released.  ”But for” his activities … ah, however …

Let the chorus begin: Ex post facto, freedom of the press.

The incompetence of Congress saddens me.  I expect the Obama Administration to act stupidly, but I had hoped for more out of Congress, in particular the incoming class.  Oh well.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Admission by Lottery

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-11-2010

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(cc photo by J. Gresham)

Dylan Matthews is quite right that there’s a good case to be made that elite schools should do admissions by lottery rather than hand-picking their classes. But he kind of welds together two different ideas. This is the very strong claim:

By virtue of being the kind of students Harvard admits, people who go here already have a huge leg-up in life. A student admitted because of her preternatural brilliance would have been rewarded for that anyway. So, too, for a student with an extraordinary work ethic or an exceptional talent for the arts. Given that these students have so much going for them already, why should Harvard devote its resources to helping them even more?

This is why, as I’ve said on many occasions, people should not donate money to rich elite American colleges. Their students are the ones least in need of the resources your money can help provide. But Matthews’ specific proposal doesn’t really get at this issue:

High school seniors would apply to a single admissions body and list their school preferences in order. Schools would set a minimum SAT score and high school GPA so that they do not admit students who truly cannot handle the work, but, otherwise, schools are randomly matched with students who list them as a preference.

Harvard probably has enough sway to launch such a system, but barring that it should set its own minimum threshold and then randomly cull from that vast majority of applicants who meet it. William R. Fitzsimmons ’67, Harvard’s long-time dean of admissions and financial aid, has said that 80 to 90 percent of Harvard applicants are qualified to be here. Harvard should identify that 80 to 90 percent, and then randomly accept 1600-1700 of them.

A system like that would still maintain the backwards allocation of resources where the richest schools have the best students.

But I think even this weaker version of the proposal would have an important beneficial impact, namely it would make the sorting/selection factor of higher education much more transparent. If “I was smart enough to get into School X” was exactly equivalent to “I got blah blah score on my SAT and then won a lottery” then suddenly School X is under fairly intense pressure to show it’s delivering actually educational value. The United States currently spends a lot of money on higher education and young people spend a lot of time getting higher educated, and we’re reasonably sure there’s some value created by all this, but we have no idea how much and there’s almost no competitive pressure on schools to increase value. Randomizing admissions, even with a cut-off point, would change the game in this regard.


Yglesias

Nadler: ‘Shameful’ For Holder To Ignore Bush Waterboarding Admission (VIDEO)

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 11-11-2010

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said Wednesday that President George W. Bush’s recent admission that he approved the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “a smoking gun” and renewed his call for Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture.

But Nadler, the current chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, doesn’t expect Holder to act.

“Judging by the record of this Attorney General, he will not pay attention, he will not respond,” Nadler said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday. “And that is shameful.”

Bush said in an interview that waterboarding is legal because his Justice Department lawyers said it was. The CIA asked Bush if he could use waterboarding. “Damn right,” Bush boasted in his memoir that he replied.

That statement “absolutely indicts the president,” Nadler said.

“It is a smoking gun, I’m dubious that [Holder] will do it because this administration unfortunately has taken the opinion, taken the attitude that they’re not going to look at any criminal actions by, within the prior administration,” Nadler said. “They say ‘let’s look forward, not backward.’ By that standard no one would be prosecuted for any crime.”

The human rights group Amnesty International has called for Bush to be prosecuted due to his admission.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced that no one would be charged for the destruction of CIA videotapes which showed the use of harsh interrogation methods against two other terrorism suspects.

Also this week, the Associated Press reported that DOJ officials reviewed and briefed two congressional committees on newly discovered e-mails sent by John Yoo, one of the former DOJ officials who came up with the legal justification for the use of waterboarding. Justice Department investigators were originally told that the e-mails could not be recovered.

After reviewing the new e-mails, which the AP said were also made available to the two congressional committees, DOJ stood by the conclusion that Yoo did not commit professional misconduct when he authorized CIA interrogators to use waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques.

Watch video below:







TPMMuckraker

TRENDING: Schwarzenegger admission: Who cares if you smoke pot?

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 09-11-2010

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(CNN) - With only a couple months left in office, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently feels free to speak his mind - at least when it comes to marijuana.

Appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday, the outgoing governor commented on the failure of Proposition 19 - the ballot initiative in California that would have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

“No one cares if you smoke a joint or not,” Schwarzenegger said to cheers from the crowd.

The comments came more than a month after the governor signed into law a provision that made the possession of small amounts of marijuana subject only to a $ 100 fine.

But Schwarzenegger did not back Proposition 19, telling Leno, “This Proposition 19 went a little bit too far, I think, and it was written badly.”

The measure failed last Tuesday, garnering 46 percent of support. It sought to legalize the growth, sale, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes while allowing governments to tax it.


CNN Political Ticker

New Whitman ad hits Brown’s “it’s all a lie” admission

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 30-10-2010

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Gaffe-tastic.


The Michael Kinsley definition of politcal gaffe is the accidental telling of an embarrassing truth — and if that’s the case, Jerry Brown committed the ultimate gaffe. Only Brown didn’t commit the gaffe in this campaign; he committed it fifteen years ago in an interview with CNN. Brown told the network that politicians in his [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Behar Guest Mills-Francis: O’Donnell ‘Was Whore By Her Own Admission’

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 23-09-2010

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On Wednesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, when a panel discussion turned to the subject of Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell, panel member Judge Karen Mills-Francis of the Judge Karen’s Court show described O’Donnell as having been a "whore" as she listed some of the Senate nominees past and recent problems. Mills-Francis: "She’s a real train wreck, and the reason why she said that is, I mean, have you looked at this woman’s resume? She was a whore by her own admission. She was an alcoholic. She owed her college $ 5,000 for 10 years – they had to sue her. The IRS levied an $ 11,000 tax lien against her. I mean, do I need to go on?"

Apparently impressed by her rant, Behar responded, "Keep going."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the segment from the Wednesday, September 22, Joy Behar Show on HLN:

JOY BEHAR: On Sean Hannity’s show, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell said she will no longer talk to the national media, and she said if they mess with her, she’ll turn them all into toads.

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL, DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE: I’m not going to do any more national media. This is my focus. Delaware is my focus. And the local media is my focus.

BEHAR: You know, she’s only focusing on Delaware. Isn’t she running for the Senate? It’s the United States Senate, Christine, not the Delaware Senate.

JUDGE KAREN MILLS-FRANCIS, JUDGE KAREN’S COURT: Yeah, but she’s a real train wreck, and the reason why she said that is, I mean, have you looked at this woman’s resume? She was a whore by her own admission. She was an alcoholic. She owed her college $ 5,000 for 10 years – they had to sue her. The IRS levied an $ 11,000 tax lien against her. I mean, do I need to go on?

BEHAR: Keep going.

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin’s admission: Israel “expelled Arabs” across Palestine in 1948

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-09-2010

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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is cursed with a penchant for intellectual honesty

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is cursed with a penchant for intellectual honesty

In a little noticed article on page 19 of the September 1 edition of Maariv, the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, assailed the actors and artists who have refused to perform at the theater in the Jewish settlement of Ariel. As a proud advocate of Greater Israel and professed friend of even the most fanatical members of the settlement enterprise (see his remarks at the recent funeral of murdered settlers in Kiryat Arba), Rivlin’s attack would not have been significant if he hadn’t revealed some uncomfortable facts in the process.

Seemingly lost in his anger at the lefty artists, Rivlin conceded that the founders of Israel, the cream of the kibbutznikim, had carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing to a massive degree. “I say to those who want to boycott - Deer Balkum ['beware' in Arabic],” Rivlin said to Maariv. “Those who expelled Arabs from En-Karem, from Jaffa, and from Katamon [in 1948..] lost the moral right to boycott Ariel.”

So according to one of the most powerful politicians in Israel, the official story of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which denies that Palestinians were forced from their homes in 1948 (they “abandoned their homes…at the request of Arab leaders,” the ministry’s website claims), is false. The Nakba happened after all. But in Rivlin’s view, those who carried out the Nakba no “moral right” to oppose settlement activity because they stole more from the Palestinians than the settlers intend to steal.

As it is said, there is no honor among thieves.

Here is a complete translation of the Hebrew-only Maariv report (thanks to the great Aki Orr for translation assistance):

Rivlin castigates the boycotting artists (“Ma’ariv” Sept. 1, bottom of page 19)

Rubi Rivlin, Chairman of the KNESSET, yesterday viciously attacked Israeli artists, players, and writers, who imposed a cultural boycott on the town of ARIEL, due to its location beyond the “Green Line” [in territories conquered in 1967]

“I say to those who want to boycott - Deer Balkum [“beware” in Arabic] Those who expelled Arabs from En-Karem, from Jaffa, and from Katamon [in 1948..] lost the moral right to boycott Ariel” said Rivlin to “Ma’ariv” yesterday.

Rivlin described the artists’ call for a boycott as “lacking intellectual honesty” adding that those who settled in Ariel and other places in Judea and Samaria [the official Israeli name for the occupied West Bank] did so “due to the orders of society, and some may say – due to the orders of Zionism.”

Max Blumenthal